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I know it's popular amongest chowhnds but, after this article today, I'm rethinking another option for my b-day brunch next Sun. What suggestions have you? Westside preferred.

(I always have to modify for Gluten and Dairy free


1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

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    1. If you are interested in still going, Call and talk to the chef (or Cd cuisine, sous ect) off peak hours. Let them know you have a reservation and could they provide some Gluten/Dairy free options. That way they have a little time to plan something or if they can't accommodate you at least you know.

      It's a much better idea than springing it on the kitchen at the last minute, as a matter of course you should do this upon making any reservation at a good restaurant.. I think you will have a better experience

      1. It looks as if there are things you can eat without modifying. Which do you want to do more, eat or modify?

        I mean, they couldn't be any more clear: "changes & modifications politely declined."

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          Kudos to the restaurant for sticking to heir policy, celebrity or not, or celebrity by association or not. Besides, she probably didn't understand the concept of no modifications, all the silicone she carries.

          1. re: fkingford

            normally i am the queen of modifications.
            the food at gjelina, though, tastes so good to me that i wouldn't even want to modify anything about it. . . . .

        2. We recently had a wonderful meal at the Tasting Kitchen next door. We got the chef's tasting menu, which was basically almost every entree on the menu, and was asked by our waiter if they were any dietary requests or omissions. We explained the couple we were with did not eat fish or seafood, and they generously served us the salmon dish, and brought more pork & vegetarian dishes out. BTW, they also clearly state at the bottom of their menu : "Please: no substitutions/modifications/omissions of any kind to our food." So obviously, they can be flexible.

          My recommendation is to skip Gjelina and head to Tasting Kitchen.

          Tasting Kitchen
          1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            I think you are comparing apples to oranges. In the case of Gjelina they refused to do changes to a certain dish (which I personally agree with), in your case you didn't want to have a specific dish modified but wanted other dishes instead of a fish dish which I am sure Gjelina would also have agreed to in the same situation. I doubt Tasting Kitchen would have agreed to for example modify the salmon dish in such a way that that it doesn't had an fish anymore.

            1. re: honkman

              That is possibly true. I was just giving the OP another option and information. Since OP has dietary issues, it seemed relevant to know that another incredible place in the same area may be a better choice. Plus it illustrated the restaurant's willingness to be flexible, which actually wasn't the first incident of this particular situation. The waiter was asked if we could get the wings in the tasting, but not the fish or seafood. So, for all we knew, we were asking the chef for omissions and substitutions. But they worked with us without a second glance. We also returned a bottle of wine and then asked for glasses of the recommended one (after finishing a bottle of it, it was so delicious, one bottle just wasn't enough) and the waiter didn't flinch or blink an eye, and it was a wonderful, festive and pleasant experience which makes us want to go back there and bring more family and friends. So, I wouldn't be so sure that the restaurant and it's staff would be so quick to dis any customers, celebrity or not. I think if they are smart, they find the best and easiest way to provide a mutual benefit, or at least give the customer a great experience.

          2. How do you pronounce "Gjelina"?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Jay F

              I say it like the J sound in justice and then "leen-a"

                1. re: wienermobile

                  Thank you both, wiener and Servorg. That was my guess, but since I don't live in LA, I don't hear people talking about the place.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    I still mispronounce it, jeh-lay-nuh, all the time, and folks still know where I'm talking of. I hope you get a chance to give them whirl some time. I'm a dedicated omnivore, but their vegetable dishes are so good, I'd have no issues becoming a vegetarian if I could do the same in my kitchen.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      It all looks so wonderful. From today's menu, I'd like to try the red snapper menu crudo and the pan-seared scallops. (I'm omnivore, too, leaning strongly towards pescetarian).

              1. re: Jay F

                The word is actually a woman's name used by Kosovo Albanians. If the restaurant's name is linked to that then the silent G pronunciation is the nearest a non Albanian can get to the actual sound (gj in Albanian alphabet is a letter on its own).

              2. I say "bravo" to the folks at Gjelina for standing by their guns, particularly in the face of the insufferable Gordon Ramsay and his gal-pal (oh, for the love of . . .) "Lady Victoria.". Way NOT to cave!

                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                1. Just to be clear beause this thread seems to have become about smoked fish and preganncy...has anybody gone to Gjelina with gluten allergies and been accommodated, or found there were adequate work-arounds, or is this a restaurant that I should stay clear of with my gluten-intolerant husband?

                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: coffeebrownies

                    Call and ask the restaurant when you go to make your reservation. If there are any dietary restrictions it's always good practice to let the restaurant know in advance. So they can log it in the reservation system, that lets the kitchen and your server know in advance.

                    The Host or GM should know or be able to find out how many/which dishes on the menu can meet your needs.

                    1. re: coffeebrownies

                      imho, there are many adequate work-arounds.
                      there are no accommodations.

                    2. We've moved a discussion of whether pregnant women should eat smoked fish to the General Chowhounding Topics board, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788295 ]

                      1. UNAMI burger won't give me extra cheese and green chilis on my burger. Black Market Liquor won't omit the polenta underneath the short rib. I could go on and on...really. So, I stopped going to UNAMI altogether and now I only drink at Black market Liquor. As for Gjelina, they probably don't have to change, so they won't. Really, though, the hounds that are cheering that they are "stickin' to their guns" sound sort of silly when someone just wants their dressing on the side. To each their own.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: orythedog

                          >>Really, though, the hounds that are cheering that they are "stickin' to their guns" sound sort of silly when someone just wants their dressing on the side.<<

                          >>To each their own.<<

                          So which one is it? With all due respect, it seems silly to expect a place that clearly states a "no subs" policy to contradict it. Many places have no such policy and will honor changes, subs, alterations, while others have a sliding scale. Some food is conducive to options and changes, while others aren't. If a chef feels his or her interpretation of each specific dish should be presented in one way, that should be respected. Likewise, if a potential diner feels this is silly, his or her dollars can vote for another place that will accommodate one's desires. In my eyes, this is, "to each their own." If there ever was a wide open field where each can find their own, it is eating in LA.

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            If as a diner, someone is trying to change or recreate a dish, it is reasonable that they may not be accomadated. Yes I can vote with my feet and often do. If I am asking for my dressing on the side, or a little extra cheese on my burger...I don't think that rises to the level of fooling around with a chef's "interpretation" of a dish. And...IMHO...if someone is cheering on this behavior, then YES, I think they are silly. Mark my words, if you don't nip this stuff in the bud, next thing you will hear is your server telling you..."I'm sorry but the chef only prepares the meats welldone, so you can't have it medium rare."

                            1. re: orythedog

                              they do. It's called Red Robin ;)

                              1. re: orythedog

                                >>I don't think that rises to the level of fooling around with a chef's "interpretation" of a dish.<<

                                Yes, that is your opinion, and contrary to what you believe, if an establishment says that that's the way things are, then it's end of story. Personally, I can live with these issues as in most cases, the chef was right in my eyes - Gjelina for sure. What's silly to you and what's silly to me are obviously diametrically opposed, so I will leave that be.

                                >>Mark my words, if you don't nip this stuff in the bud, next thing you will hear is your server telling you..."I'm sorry but the chef only prepares the meats welldone, so you can't have it medium rare."<<

                                Whether this comes to fruition or not in some places, I couldn't really care. I don't see this happening en masse (by choice but the incidental frequency is high) and those that choose to practice such things as leatherizing meat will never see my wallet opened in their places. Worse comes to worst, I can cook reasonable meals at home and wait for the Chowhound's version of World War Z to pass.

                              2. re: bulavinaka

                                i'd even narrow your statement to say that there is a wide-open field on abbot kinney.. . . .

                              3. re: orythedog

                                "As for Gjelina, they probably don't have to change, so they won't."

                                Time will tell...it's fascinating how many owners of restaurants seem to enjoy shooting themselves in the foot. They've gone down in flames still wondering why they didn't make it even though national statistics show them they've got to stay on their game in order to pass that first year of business.
                                Hal's on Abbot used to be the place where it was, literally, impossible to get that prized reservation.
                                Times change and another takes it's place. Hal's continues to do business because they understand their clientele. They go out of their way to pay attention to their needs.
                                Gjelina is a nice restaurant. They have their policies and not everyone is going to like them.
                                Your post and the OP's post are clear indications that word gets around and there are people who'll decide they'd rather not play the game.
                                People in this city are fickle when it comes to restaurants. The flavor of the week is here one day and gone the next.
                                A new cafe on Sunset just opened 3 weeks ago that serves the beloved Blue Bottle. I was there opening time a few days ago and they asked me to wait 30 minutes so they could get their espresso machine started and heated. Sorry...the people I was with told about 50 that story and who knows where that shop is headed with that kind of publicity, Blue Bottle or not.

                                1. re: latindancer

                                  well, the last time i showed up at Gjelina on a tuesday evening at 9pm wanting one seat at a communal table, there was a substantial wait.
                                  it doesn't look like the day of comeuppance that you are predicting is coming anytime soon.
                                  if they keep their quality/quantity/price ratios in the same range, i predict that they will have an extremely long run without having to make substitutions.
                                  the ramsay/beckham story took place over six months ago and gjelina is still bustling.. . . .

                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                    I'm not predicting anything, actually.
                                    It's a nice restaurant with good food and my lunch the other day was good.
                                    I liked the idea there wasn't a wait for lunch and a few of us could walk in on the spur of the moment and be seated. There is a loyal following on Abbot Kinney, the owner knows is there and is relying on and will, undoubtedly, keep on coming back.